In a Republic World exclusive, former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan recounted how it was like playing in the 2003 and 2011 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cups. According to the former Team India fast bowler, “In 2003 we came very close to winning the World Cup, and that was a special World Cup for me even though we lost in the finals, that was pretty early in my career, so that experience really helped me in the long run in terms of understanding the pressure and in terms of understanding what it takes to win a World Cup.”
Zaheer Khan further spoke about his shot at redemption, “I was fortunate enough to have got that opportunity in 2011 when we played in front of the whole home crowd and managed to win the World Cup, so in a way, it was like a settlement of sorts where I had a crazy final in 2003 and then a brilliant final in 2011 when we managed to win the World Cup.”
All through the World Cup in 2011 hosted in India, Zaheer Khan put up one brilliant performance after another, ending joint-highest wicket-taker with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi. When India called upon him to perform at the highest level, he delivered. Whenever ‘Captain Cool’ Dhoni required a wicket to be taken, he would turn to his best bowler and Zaheer Khan rarely disappointed.
With 610 international wickets, Zaheer finished as one of India's most successful bowlers, being the fourth-highest wicket-taker for India across formats. He has the second-highest wickets tally - 311 - for an India seamer in Tests, behind Kapil Dev's 434. Though Zaheer played only a few international matches in the last years of his career after being dogged by injuries in May 2014, he managed to play seven games in IPL 2015. Zaheer finished his Test career with an average of 32.94 and an ODI career with 282 wickets at 29.43. After his international debut in 2000, his most prominent performance in Tests came on the England tour of 2007 when he finished with 18 wickets at an average of 20.33. In ODIs, he played a vital role as the leader of the pace attack during India's victorious 2011 World Cup campaign with 21 wickets to finish as the join-highest wicket-taker.